2 THINGS

1. Modo 801 is out. And yes, it brings new features, unlike 3ds Max 2015 what is a ‘patch’ for an insane amount of money.
Check it out here: MODO 801 new features
Well, it is not a revolution of course, moreover catching up with other apps. But at least they definitely did something for their money, not just gave a 500 EUR bill for a 20 EUR modifier.

2. I realised that a new version of  Fibix Editor is out. I saw some new videos (looked fine), so I gave it a new chance. It crashes all the time again.

Real-time engine quick reviews – something has been changed

Do you remember for these ‘Quick reviews‘ on real-time engines?

I had to pause it for a while because of other projects  and now it will be finished in a different way.
I planned to write about these apps:

Dedicated apps:
– TwinMotion (Done, read it here).
– Fibix Editor (Done, read it here).
– Lumion3D

‘Game engines’:
– UDK
– CryEngine3
– Torque3D (Done, read it here).
– S2 Engine
– NeoAxis
– LeadWerks (Done, read it here).
– C4 Engine
– Esenthel (Done, read it here).
– Shiva3D
– BGE (Blender Game Engine)

So let’s see, what will happen:
Thanks to the indie-friendly move of Epic with releasing UDK 4 and its ‘countermove’ from CryTek with CryEngine3 on a very low price, the small 3d tools are literally dead.
I have no doubt that there are loyal users for all of the so-called ‘indie’ engines and they will slow down the agony of the tools, but with rational thinking they are not alternatives anymore.
Let me to be honest on this: it was unavoidable.
There are 2 kinds of developer who could survive in long term: ‘geniuses’ and big development teams. ‘Geniuses’ are rare. They used to invent things or make outstanding implementations of existing technologies. Generally speaking take a look on Brigade engine. Take a look on Corona Renderer.
These things are just awesome.

The other ‘survivor’-type is the company who is big and/or rich enough to solve a problem with brute force (many high skilled employees) or with buying out the technology what geniuses made. Most typical example from a different field of computer graphics: AutoDesk (but their new moves with the upgrade policy…folks, I could buy a full MODO and Lightwave license from their ‘discounted’ upgrade price. Have you seen LWCAD? It is awesome.)

So, I’m sure the most of the smaller game engine apps will be discontinued in a relatively short period. I will not write reviews about these apps anymore.
Specialized apps like Lumion3D could survive. Lumion interface is for ‘engineers’ who shoud not be engineers at all. It offers a massive library of content, could be a complete solution for non-tech guys. But they will bleed customers, too. Anyone who goes for the highest quality of GPU-based archviz with customization needs…. they will be not Lumion3d users anymore.
Why they would be?
For 10-20 USD per month they could get the best technologies today.

I have to mention Blender Game Engine separately.
As a game engine it has no chance and it never had.
But as a complementer visualiser tool it could win a lot with smart developing.
Otherwise, if you take a look on the new implementation of the Toolbox menus in Blender… I doubt it will be developed to the right direction.

So:
I hope my next review will focus on UDK4, although I have to finish some projects till I can deal with it.

Yes, this is why coding skills are not enough…

I bought an asset called ‘MegaGrab’ from the Unity Asset Store.
As I mentioned before, Unity doesn’t offer any built-in cutscene tools or output formats as images/image sequences. Some free scripts are available for saving images, but I was not satisfied with them.
This time I will not analyze the main purpose of this plug-in.
I just want to show why coders need skills in GUI design not to upset customers.
Check this GUI!

What the f...k?Yes. You have to type in the path for saving, instead of using a ‘Browse’ function in 2013.
But – and this causes me a brain stroke –  the asset offers a function to upload the result to a server (even the f…ing php script is included for that).
The utility also lacks of possibility to make ‘Render templates’ like 720p, 1080p, Custom size, whatever).

it also would be logical to show the actual units (sec, inch, cm, etc.) instead of pure numbers.

Conversations – archviz in the past and now

I had some conversations with other CGI experts, related to visualisation trends and apps in the last weeks.
I have to say that it was a good feeling that we agreed in many things.

Archviz went back to the era without 3d modeling and rendering.

In those times architects used pencils, inks and produced ‘moods’ instead of exact and realistic drawings to present their plans to the clients.

Today it is the almost same. We both saw very ‘high-rated’  renderings which had nothing to do with a correct/expected presentation of a building.
Extreme usage of DOF, focusing on non-relevant parts, extreme amount of CA & vignette, over-saturated colors, massive post-processing instead of setting up the scene properly.
Instagram-visualisations for the PS-generation.

And – this is the sad part of the story – we both have to do the same, to fulfill the expectations.
I turned my personal portfolio to this kind of over-processed stuff (after having some talk with some potential employer who lacked these from my portfolio).
I test these ‘post-processing’ effects in the apps I try (although I think that it is better to have an unused/rarely used feature – requested by the market – than not if it is a need from the users of an app).

Cinematic quality/weather conditions

We both agreed that cinematic quality as an output is a nonsense if we talk about archviz. Again, it is not about the quality of the materials or the quality of the model. It is about the efforts; the time of the rendering and post-processing, the style of an animation and so on. The required time and energy for a cinematic quality render could be huge and not necessary to present a building properly.
The task is to present a building, to offer as much information as possible for the client.
We were talking about the ‘fashion’ of  the ‘bad weather’ renderings. In almost 20 years I was never asked to render any rainy scene. I was asked to render day/night scenes, sometimes kind of shadow (lighting) studies, but no rain at all. I was asked to change the people on the pictures to ‘supermodels’ (I completely disagreed with this), rotate to sun to show always a ‘happy, sunny lighting’, but I never, NEVER was asked to make any rainy scenerio (although I could completely accept if the clients in England require it).

Wasting resources

If I wanted to determine my definition about archviz, it would be like this: ‘To achieve the best necessary quality within the less time and effort.’
And the ‘necessary’ part should come from smart people, not from the market.
Something is definitely wrong with the way of the brain of the ‘crowd’ operates.
Let me to say it in a different way: the ‘Goodfather’ is a great movie, even watched on a VHS video player.
The movie ‘Avatar’ or the most of the hundred million dollar blockbusters  are sucks, even in 4K.

So back to archviz:

A good architectural visualisation starts with a good plan of a good architect.
A good presentation for me – as a customer – is about things that matter to me. And it is not about the wonderfully animated leaves in the wind, the climbing ant on the bark of a tree or the vignette/CA in the corners.
It is about representing the real building with its real materials and its real ambiance.
It is about targeting the human-eye equivalent FOV (because I will be disappointed after facing to the IRL size of a room after watchimg a wide-angle render) instead of pentagon-shaped bokeh (what is something my eyes never produce).
It is about lighting what doesn’t fool me and shows me if there is a skyscraper in the neighborhood  what casts shadows to my ‘future’ office/apartment for a significant time of the day.

Archviz should be about reality, but in important details.
So wasting energy on unnecessary things should be not OK for anyone who thinks that sustainability and environment protection is a good idea.
That is one of the reasons why I support real-time archviz solutions like Lumion3D; that is why I think that virtual reality could be an ultimate tool for archviz.
It could show everything, what is important with a limited environmental footprint.
And as a former render-farm owner and a person who was working on sustainable projects a lot I have to say that RT archviz is a big step forward.

The image quality with ‘classic’ rendering engines fit archviz needs since years, now we should focus on the speed instead of adding unnecessary ‘realism’.
Of course it is a personal opinion and I know that people love their unnecessary Retina Displays in their iPhone or the zillion megapixels in their cellphones on a fly-shit-sized sensor, so I have doubts.
We will see.

SceneMate – a recommended asset from the Unity Asset Store

SceneMate from Tim Wiese offers tools for Unity what should come with it by default: Snap, Object painting, Align, Randomization, Object Replacement and so on. I bought this because of the Randomization and the Object Replacement functions. It costs about 10 euros, so it has a very good price, even for indies.
I have some ideas how to improve it, so I will contact the developer soon.

SceneMate

You can buy the asset here.
Additional info: www.scenemate.net
(It seems that the official website is not 100% compatible with Opera browser – another reason to contact him).